Max Tovstyi “Mesmerize” Album Review + Stream…


Mesmerize – Vinyl // CD // DD

Clostridium Records – released May 21, 2018

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr



Kyiv, Ukraine

Other Projects:
The Heavy Crawls
Lucifer Rising
The Red Sterns



While most of us have taken the summer to live life, the way we do, soaking up all of the joys life offers us while taking a break from the ‘every-day’ as it were. Max Tovstyi is the exception to the rule here. Having completed another tour with The Heavy Crawls and their rotating cast of members, he completed his Broken Bricks Studios project, including getting the right building and equipment, and doing most of the work himself. During all of this he had going on, Max was able to complete a series of 12 songs that tend towards a more blues-feel record, complete with faster tempo tracks interwoven with the slower, and Max does it ALL on this album. Previously, he seemed to concentrate on the space-rock type of structure and letting his guitar work speak for itself while sitting at the helm of his creative juggernaut, steering into the world.  This time, it is just him, no pretense, no other minds involved so we get PURE Max, claiming responsibility for every nuance and note.

I had been contacted directly by Max to review this solo-outing, the day before it’s release and upon initial listening, I was floored with the simple purity of each track, surprised with the dozen compositions that sound very little like anything I had heard before from…

Pro Shot

From the power chord intro of ‘Rising Sun’ through to the phased-out beginning of bonus track ‘So Unfamiliar’ and it’s slow-cascading tempo, there is just so much to ingest here. While ‘Wait Till Tomorrow’ comes out of the gate relatively quick, he slows to a mid-tempo pace that allows him to flex his muscle, including harmonizing alongside himself in the chorus and you can hear some multi-layered soloing as it permeates the air around. ‘Interstellar Girl opens with a jazzy drumline that leads right into some funky 70’s sounding keyboards that follow the pumped-up bass line and is jaunty enough to keep your head moving along, and ‘Feel Like Dying Now’ keeps that feel but is a diatribe in sadness as Max describes what took him there, all frosted in some of his most-personal soloing he has done yet.

‘From The Blues To The Funk’ sounds like something lifted directly out of Mississippi mud and by the time you have reached the three minute mark, the funk has overtaken the bass and the ‘funk’ is all over the place, replete with some sassy horn work for good measure. ‘Yesterday’s Blues’ is more traditional in arrangement and delivery but still containing his heart on his sleeve, much like the token ‘heartstrings-puller’ delivery of ‘You Have To Make Up Your Mind’ that includes some female back-up vocals to compliment the chorus here.

‘Show Me The Way’ maintains this feel and does not disappoint while tracks like ‘World Of Sin’ give you something to chew-on with the lush mix that manages to convey a little of the previously mentioned space-rock’ feel and still feeling heavy as fuck, where ‘You Know That I Know’ is one of the faster tracks offered and keeps it moving as much as any other from this album. ‘Show Me The Way’ sums up the rest of the record in keeping with that standard 3/4 time sig that is so prevalent with the blues overall.

Painting_Album Cover

The one that stands out and away from the others on this in I didn’t just want, I NEEDED to listen to this one over and over, that being the title track ‘Mesmerize’ with what can only be described as fuzzed-out, punch you in your chest hard rock brought perfectly into this century by Max’ own hand. The structure/arrangement/delivery is flawless and FOR ME, is the best I have heard from Max to this point.

Having watched this all develop has been fascinating and I can only hope for more, including a tour to the USA. Get it if you haven’t already, share it with ALL that surround you and when all else fails, keep it LOUD!!

Helmer “Helmer” Album Review + Stream…


Self Titled – Digital Download

Self Released: July 4, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr


Founded – December 31, 2013

Location – Chicago, Illinois

Genre – rock / thrash / acoustic / doom metal

Band Members:
tevil Helmer – guitars
Matt Westlake – guitars
Elvin Rodriguez – vocals
Dave Bizzigotti – bass
Gary Farano – drums
Tracy G. – guest guitar (“Bag Of Dimes”)


Previous Releases –  “A Million Pieces” single (2013) / “Ivory Tower (Acoustic) single (2015) / “Bag Of Dimes” single (2016)

Two years and three months in the making, this “S/T” album marks a landmark with it being the first full-length release from HELMER and is right on time to fill a void that has been growing wider in scope.  That being original music filled with power and managing to avoid falling into any of the trappings of heavier music while showing a mindset of singularity… to make ‘formula music’ obsolete and forge forward wielding ‘axes high’ in this 9-track, 38+ minute venture into the mind of guitar-master Stevil Helmer.

Pic Stevil Helmer

Each of these tracks is ‘tall-enough’ to stand on their own, much as ‘Bag Of Dimes’ and ‘Ivory Tower’ have done, originally released as singles, and together as a unit, the resulting compilation is simply…. KICK ASS!! From the dark fade in of ‘Electromagnetic’ to ‘Burn The Rain’, with a staggered tempo entry, it is clear there is no rest or compromise offered in the relentless pulling as the HELMER train keeps you moving along with no thought of anything but MORE…

‘Caveman’ has this chilling harmonic squealing that turns into the thickest chunky melody that keeps hitting hard and heavy as we “Shine, shine, shine, shine…”, while ‘Two Birds, One Stone’ hits your brain asking “If Misery loves company, than why am I alone?” and the body of the song is immediately rolling hard, grabbing you along.

‘Pure Madness’ is more of a doom/stoner track in it’s delivery, nice and even and filled with guitar textures galore to fill the most ardent guitar fan with happiness and when ‘Hey Hey My My’ hits, there is nothing to do but scream along with this absolutely genius update that even NEIL YOUNG would have to smile wide. On the version I purchased, the original version of ‘Ivory Tower’ is including in all it’s haunting acoustic glory that was how I heard it first and shows how much even one song can progress just by shifting gears. In MY opinion, the combination of both versions, acoustic first, followed immediately with the electrified would be the perfect set closer/encore in a live setting and would melt heads off.

Get YOUR copy of this immediately, share it out and shove it down the throats of the unwilling. Get out and see this music live if you are afforded the opportunity and keep it LOUD!!

MOROSITY – “Low Tide” Album Review & Stream…


Low Tide – CD // DD

Self Released: February 14, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr


Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota is the location! Formed in 2010, Morosity band members listed simply as Jesse / David / Nick / Shawn and Jason… no other identifiers, no telling who does what on ANY of their pages, but they are clear when they say that “History doesn’t matter.” is the response to asking about the past of this gathering of five minds. Influences listed include but not limited to TOOL / DAYS OF THE NEW / OPETH / DEAD CAN DANCE / PINK FLOYD, from ALICE IN CHAINS to SOUNDGARDEN, as far back as LED ZEPPELIN and as current as you can think of from VAST to ECHOBRAIN…   Oddly, if you listen close enough, you can hear each and more in these nine songs offered, the first since 2011’s first full length release. Sit back, smoke ’em if ya got ’em and let it roll…

Band Pro Art Shot


MOROSITY From the first, quick face in, strings and things in a cavalcade of movement and you are suddenly surrounded by Middle Eastern majesty in subtle drum tones and tempo and there is a mystic sounding flow of voices that are turning circles around you for the 2 minutes and 10 seconds of ‘Mind Over Matter’ and the next thing you know, ‘The Answer’ hits you with a crushing intro that belies the over-washing tale of ’round and round’ that ‘no one will ever know’ per our vocal guide. The last 50 seconds begin with ‘You’re all wrong’ and then some of the most dynamic lead-guitar work I have heard out of these guys yet and just when the crescendo seems imminent, ‘Ouroboros’ hits with the soft mystical sounds of winding of drums and strings in writhing symmetry that keeps your feet off of the ground as you drink this tale in, savoring each drop until the next hits you until the last echoes off into ringing silence.

‘Moon’ shows off just how far the last six years have meant in growth and shows it shines brighter than any other on this album with the glistening smooth first note full of multilayered guitar tracks that slip and slide as you settle in for the ride as the tempo evens.  The glistening slows and that voice enters, telling you that ‘You make it all black and white’ and the body of the melody wraps around you like the lightest touch and your closed eyes do nothing to prevent the grin that involuntarily crosses your lips as everything gets so soft and then takes charge with complexity of a flanged guitar progression that circles like so many fingers until ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ fades to life with a reverb-heavy single string under a wash cymbal beckons to this direction.  Onto the next tale… Straight into slide guitar Heaven with this vocal that is clear without menace, strong without volume and commanding without command, showing that maturity in content and execution that is typically lacking in a sophomore effort, yet is very abundant throughout this one.

‘Death Grip’ begins with that spaghetti-western cowboy swagger that lets you know, this is not going to be more of the same. I immediately thought of post-grunge band LITTLE KINGS and then the whistle hits and you can almost feel that hot breeze crossing your cheek with the uttering “BANG BANG BANG, THEY TOOK AWAY OUR GUNS…” and the violins sing exactly that tale with each sinewy note that permeates the rest of this song. ‘Limbo’ is a quick follow with an almost gypsy sounding progression that sets the pace for this tale where no one believes you, where title track ‘Low Tide’ is more morose sounding out of the gate with subtle rolls and fills as the body rolls under the haunting yet solid vocal that continues to keep you elevated as he beckons you to watch him fly. As the song ends and the waves begin to wash back over you, album closer ‘Adrift’ fulfills the dream state once more with the layers of astral sounds soothe and accentuate the ghostly vocal line that slips it’s metaphoric fingers through your hair and across your flesh giving that inner chill that fades ever so slowly as do the waves fade to nothingness and suddenly, you realize it is over.


I did not know what to expect what with almost 6 years past between releases but gave it a shot and am thankful that I did not let this slide past me. I recommend grabbing one of the limited edition first-pressings and support them live if they come anywhere close!!